“She Left the Window”: Challenging Domestic Ethos in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White

Rachael Zeleny

Abstract: Historically, literary critics have considered Wilkie Collins’s Woman in White as yet another example of a novel that tentatively endorses alternate versions of acceptable femininity but ultimately confines women within the traditionally confines of domesticity by the novel’s close. To draw such a conclusion, however, would be to overlook Collins’s intertextual relationship with artists and paintings of this time. By employing the lens of visual rhetoric, a reader has a better understanding of how Collins uses Marian Halcombe’s proximity to windows throughout the novel as a means for challenging domestic ethos to the very last page. 

Keywords: feminist rhetoric, Pre-Raphaelite art, Wilkie Collins, Victorian art, sensation novels, domestic ethos 

 


Zeleny, Rachael. "'She Left the Window': Challenging Domestic Ethos in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White." Peitho 21.1 (2018): 61-80.